It is all part of the Chinese strategy to steal technology and information as they work on being the top country in the world.
There is an excellent article on the history of China and how it pertains to today’s world by Brandon J. Weichert at New English Review.
The “trade war” is part of a complex struggle by China to come to parity and overtake the United States.
The struggle with China is also pertinent in the Cyber world, as we know from Mandiant’s report the Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has a unit that actively attacks western companies and countries to steal technology and anything else that might be important. this was the APT1 operational attack on the world.
China is actively attacking systems (as you will see below).
The PLA units are hundreds if not thousands of attackers.
In Mandiant’s report there is some history where the APT1 was first used in 2006. So for the last 13 years the Chinese have been systematically trying to attack and steal relevant information from Western companies.
Every industry was attacked (just like it is easy to do as everyone is connected to everyone on the Internet). Some industries are more important than others:
Above image is from Mandiant’s report linked above.
This is from a report in 2012 about an old attack, but today these items have not changed much.
Let’s go back to Mr Weichert’s article (“Much More Than a Trade War With China”) where in the warring states period of Chinese history (771-475BC) was a unique time period. In this era the Qin Dynasty was able to overcome a superior adversary in the Zhou dynasty, due to superior statecraft and mastery of strategy.
Mr Weichert brings up a quote by Jiang Zemin (Chinese leader 1995-2003) “there cannot be two suns in the sky”. Because the history of China showed only one dynasty will eventually defeat the other and survive to rule over all.
In here the “Barbarian-Handling” techniques are analyzed by Edward Luttwak:
Initially, concede all that must be conceded to the superior power, to avoid damage and obtain whatever benefits or at least forbearance that can be had from it;
Entangle the ruler and ruling class of the superior power in webs of material dependence that reduce its original vitality and strength, while preferring equality in a privileged bipolarity that excludes every other power;
Finally, when the formerly superior power has been weakened enough, withdraw all tokens of equality and impose subordination.
And then the Chinese culture assimilates the ‘Barbarian’ culture. Such as when the Mongols invaded and eventually used Chinese methods which were eventually surpassed later. There are many older cultures in Asia that have been completely swallowed up by China.
Whether this is a good methodology by China is not a question here (I believe it is not), we note that it is occurring and part of the “entanglement” strategy to steal technology. The technology advantage will not be significant or even an advantage over time with more and more tech thefts.
What is the easiest way to steal technology today? Over the internet!!
This is why the PLA is systematic in its actions. They attack everyone and then find the nuggets in the network stream. China’s strategy is deliberate and systematic. In the 80s and 90s we had neighborhood kids who were trying to hack companies for the ‘fun’ of it. Today we have nation states with MASSIVE budgets and techniques.
If you do not think there is a serious Cyberattack happening you must wake up and smell the roses. If you have something to protect, and even if you do not the wide swaths of Cyberattacks coming out out China will make your life more difficult.
The above image does not surprise me and is the number of attacks on this website in a week. And this website has no data beyond what you see on the blog (i.e. there is no customer data or other data hidden)
Contact us to review your Cyber defense strategy.